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02-Feb-2018 13:35

In 1983, an exact replica of the Great Hall of the Bulls and the Painted Gallery - created under Monique Peytral and known as "Lascaux II" - was opened a few hundred metres from the original cave, and it is this replica that visitors see today.In addition, a full range of Lascaux's parietal art can be viewed at the Centre of Prehistoric Art, located close by at Le Thot.These styles of painting and engraving continued during the European Solutrean and Magdalenian eras, although their earliest forms are believed to have first emerged around 30,000 BCE.The Lascaux cave complex was discovered in 1940 by teenagers Marcel Ravidat, Jacques Marsal, Georges Agnel, and Simon Coencasin, and eight years later, it was opened to the public.It is now established that the cave interior closest to the entrance - including the Hall of the Bulls and the Painted Gallery - would have been bright enough to work by for about one hour, for several days each year.Chronological questions about the age of Lascaux's cave paintings, over what period they were created, and the identity of the oldest art in the complex, are still being debated.The Paleolithic scholar Andre Leroi-Gourhan believes that Lascaux was decorated between the end of Solutrean art and the beginning of Magdalenian art (c.15,000-13,000 BCE).According to Leroi-Gourhan, the style of Lascaux's paintings was consistent with other art discovered during this period.

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According to paleolithic scholar Jean Clottes, they are very similar to the 'chimney' signs found in the Pech-Merle cave paintings (Lot, France), whose art dates back as far as 25,000 BCE.

Like the Chauvet Cave paintings, Lascaux's cave art was protected by a landslide which sealed off access to the cave around 13,000 BCE.

Not long after its opening in 1948, Pablo Picasso paid a visit and was amazed at the quality of the cave's rock art, saying that man had learned nothing new since then.

(See also the magnificent bison paintings at Font de Gaume Cave in the Perigord.)Discovered in 1940, close to the village of Montignac, in the Dordogne region of southwestern France, Lascaux is especially famous for its painting, which includes a rare example of a human figure; the largest single image ever found in a prehistoric cave (the Great Black Bull); and a quantity of mysterious abstract signs, which have yet to be deciphered.

Its most famous chambers include the "Hall of the Bulls", the "Axial Gallery", the "Apse" and the "Shaft".By 1955, much of the cave's parietal art was beginning to deteriorate due to the amount of carbon dioxide exhaled by the 1200 daily visitors, and other environmental problems. As a result, in 1963 the site was closed to the public.



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